Posts Tagged ‘Jeffrey Dean Morgan’

CTVNEWS.CA: THE CROUSE REVIEW LOOKS AT “RAMPAGE” & MORE!

A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the angry ape movie “Rampage,” the timely and touching drama “Indian Horse” and the boy-and-his-horse drama “Lean on Pete.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

RICHARD’S WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FROM CP24! FRIDAY APRIL 13, 2018.

Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the giant ape movie “Rampage,” the touching drama “Indian Horse,” the Middle East thriller “Beirut” starring Jon Hamm and Joaquin Phoenix in “You Were Never Really Here.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

RICHARD’S CTV NEWSCHANNEL WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FOR ARPIL 13.

Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan  to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the giant ape movie “Rampage,” the touching drama “Indian Horse,” the Middle East thriller “Beirut” starring Jon Hamm and Joaquin Phoenix in “You Were Never Really Here.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

They had me at ape. “Rampage,” primate power and other simian cinema.

By Richard Crouse 

They had me at ape. Rampage stars Dwayne Johnson as primatologist Davis Okoye along with an all-star cast, including Naomie Harris and Malin Åkerman, but for me it’s all about the ape with the unlikely name of George.

Based on the 1986 arcade game Rampage, the new film directed by Newfoundland native Brad Peyton sees a genetic experiment go horribly wrong. “We’ve created the next chapter in natural selection. Project Rampage works.” Except when it doesn’t.

George, a giant but gentle silverback gorilla, a winged wolf and a reptile are transformed into monsters with an appetite for destruction. That’s right, there’s a gorilla so big it makes The Rock and his oversized muscles look like a first grader by comparison.

Luckily Okoye raised George and they share an unbreakable bond, a connection so strong the primatologist just might be able to reason with the gorilla and put an end to the invasion of the mega-beasts.

Primate power! I go ape over simian cinema. Whether it’s the Disneynature Earth Day documentary Chimpanzee which follows the story of Oscar, an African chimpanzee born into a troop led by alpha male Freddy or the animated simian reworking of The Right Stuff called Space Chimps, I’m buying a ticket. I even enjoyed The Hangover 2 largely because of Crystal the Monkey who played a drug dealer.

Paving the way for Crystal and her primate kin was simian superstar Peggy the Chimp who appeared alongside future president Ronald Reagan in Bedtime for Bonzo. “I fought a losing battle with a scene-stealer with a built-in edge,” said the 40th President of the United States, “he was a chimpanzee!” Actually he was a she, a trained chimp who once almost strangled Reagan by mistake. The inquisitive ape grabbed the actor’s necktie and pulled it so tight the knot was “as small as my fingernail,” Reagan remembered. A quick thinking crew member cut the tie off before the Republican turned blue, setting him free to finish the cheesy movie Johnny Carson joked would become, “a favourite of old movie buffs and Democrats.”

The Tarzan movies made a superstar out of Cheetah the Chimp even though no chimpanzees appear in the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels that inspired the films. Over a dozen apes worked on the Tarzan movies and TV shows but the most famous must be Cheeta who starred in two dozen films. In 2008 he released Me Cheeta, a memoir ghostwritten by James Lever. “’I acted into my thirties,” “he” wrote. “Most chimps retire by the age of ten because they won’t do what they’re told. I didn’t want to end up in a lab with an electrode in my forehead.”

Long before computer generated special effects made digital apes like the ones featured in movies like Rampage and War for the Planet of the Apes possible, a makeup artist named John Chambers pioneered primate makeup. His work on the original Planet of the Apes was based on a technique he developed during World War II to give disfigured veterans a natural look.

The makeup process was so intense that Kim Hunter, who played chimpanzee psychologist and veterinarian Zira, had to be prescribed valium to keep her calm during the sessions. Chambers’ makeup work was extreme, but it earned him a special Academy Award his statue was presented by—who else?—a tuxedo-clad chimpanzee.

RAMPAGE: 2 STARS. “I didn’t expect “Coriolanus” with a giant flying wolf.”

Dwayne Johnson has finally found a co-star bigger and musclier than he is, a giant silverback gorilla named George, the only living thing on earth large enough to flip The Rock the bird and get away with it.

Based on the 1986 arcade game “Rampage,” the new film directed by Newfoundland native Brad Peyton, sees a genetic experiment go horribly wrong. “We’ve created the next chapter in natural selection. Project Rampage works.” Except when it doesn’t.

George, the giant but gentle silverback gorilla, a winged wolf and a reptile are transformed into monsters with an appetite for destruction. That’s right, there’s a gorilla so big it makes The Rock, who plays Davis Okoye, a Dr. Doolittle talking-to-animals type with king-size muscles, look like a first grader by comparison.

Luckily Okoye raised George and they share an unbreakable bond, a connection so strong the primatologist just might be able to reason with the gorilla and put an end to the invasion of the mega-beasts.

I’m no different than anybody else. I’m happy to spend cash to watch nature go wild as humungous beasts (including the pumped up Johnson) battle one another. It should be loads of fun, peppered with Johnson’s trademarked one-liners, some heavy beast-on-beast action topped off with an evil corporation with an appetite for destruction and a scientist with something to prove but instead it’s a about spectacle and little else. Don’t give me wrong I didn’t expect “Coriolanus” with a giant flying wolf but in the CGI era when anything is possible I know the visuals will pop. I’d also like the script to do some of the work as well. It’s the kind of big budget b-movie where it takes four credited writers to come up with bon mots like, “I can’t believe we survived that,“ and “Thank you for saving the world.” (That is not a spoiler. You know the world will survive the rampaging creatures.) Johnson is an engaging performer, so is co-star Naomie Harris, but imagine how much better the movie would be if they were given better things to say than, “Davis, try not to get killed.” Without characters you care about who cares if giant beasts made of pixels destroy a pretend city?

“Rampage” isn’t the only oversized fiend film coming this year. To warm us up for “Rampage” they showed a trailer for “The Meg,” a.k.a. “Jason Statham and The Giant Shark.” Call it the year of the gigantic beast if you like but so far—I haven’t seen “The Meg” yet–bigger isn’t always better.

RICHARD’S WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FROM CP24! FRIDAY NOVEMBER 13, 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 3.50.20 PMRichard’s CP24 reviews for Diane Keaton and John Goodman’s “Love the Coopers,” “By the Sea” from Brangelina and the Oscar bait of “Spotlight.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

RICHARD’S “CANADA AM” REVIEWS FOR OCTOBER 23 WITH MARCI IEN.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 3.51.17 PMRichard’s “Canada AM” look at the early holiday movie “Love the Coopers” featuring more stars than on the top of the tree, “By the Sea” from Brangelina and the Oscar bait of “Spotlight.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

HEIST: 1 STAR. “a generic title to match its characters and direct-to-video feel.”

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 4.22.54 PM

I could write a nostalgic piece about how, once upon a time in a far away time and place, Robert de Niro’s name on a marquee was a sign of quality. Or I could write a snarky article about paycheque movies and taking roles for the cash. Maybe a generic What the heck happened to Robert de Niro? Column would be in order.

Either way, any of those topics could be easily folded into a review of “Heist,” a flaccid new crime drama that adds nothing to Mr. De Niro’s legacy except, perhaps, for a dollars in his bank account.

The great thespian plays Mr. Pope— famous as The Pope to all those who know and fear him. For thirty years he’s run The Swan Casino with an iron fist. No compromises. Bottom line, if you steal from him you die. Ten dollars to ten million dollars, the consequences are the same. “Nobody steals from The Swan not because it’s Fort Knox but because everyone is afraid of The Pope,” says Vaughn (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), but that doesn’t stop him from coordinating a robbery that will net him and his co-conspirators Cox (Dave Bautista) and Dante (Stephen Cyrus Sepher) three million in cash. Vaughn needs the money to pay for an operation for his daughter and he’s desperate enough to cross The Pope to get the money.

Things go wrong and soon Vaughn, Cox and Dante are on a bus filled with civilians zooming their way to freedom with The Pope’s henchmen (Morris Chestnut) and the police (led by fighter Gina Carano) in hot pursuit.

The first time De Niro starred in a heist movie directed by someone with the last name Mann we got “Heat,” a genuinely exciting action movie. This time around director Scott Mann has cast De Niro in a movie with a generic title to match its characters and direct-to-video feel. Part “Speed” and part every other heist film ever made, “Heist” relies on implausible plot twists—like cops who break the law to aid the bad guys because one of the hijackers had “a reassuring voice”—and clichés to tell its weak-tea story.

One exchange between The Pope and his henchman sums up the entire movie.

“Looks like they’re running to the border!”

“Cliché,” says The Pope.

Yes it is Bob, and so is the rest of the movie.

THE LOSERS: 3 STARS

The-Losers-the-losers-11953265-1600-1200Everything about “The Losers” is exaggerated. Things don’t explode, they burst into fiery mushroom clouds. The body count is in the triple digits and why use a machine gun when you can use a bazooka? It has all the elements of a regular action flick, just more and, as an added bonus, one of the bad guys is from Quebec.

At the beginning of the film The Losers are five highly trained special ops soldiers (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, and Oscar Jaenada)—calling them losers is like calling a tall guy Shorty—on a mission in Bolivia. Their job is to locate and mark a terrorist’s den so the air force can swoop in and lay down a heap of shock and awe. Minutes before bombs are scheduled to drop a busload of underage children arrive at the compound. The Losers try and call off the raid, but the high command—a man named Max (Jason Patrick)—refuses. Several very loud noises later The Losers are forced to fake their own deaths and go rogue. When a mysterious stranger (Zoe Saldana) shows up with a proposition they see a way to reenter the United States and get their revenge on Max.

Of course there’s more to the story than that. There’s next generation weapons, more international locations than a James Bond movie and an internationally wanted bazooka toting bad girl who dresses like a Guess model. This is a comic book movie—it’s based on a Vertigo DC series—with comic book characters and a silly premise. The bad guy is engineering a global conflict to bring peace to the US. Huh? Duct tape saves the day (Red Green would be so proud). Double huh?

It’s all a bit silly but since the movie doesn’t take itself seriously neither should we. It’s a fun ride that while bigger isn’t necessarily better. There’s a bit too much slo mo—I think it’s time we finally put an end to the “Reservoir Dogs” slo motion shot of the team walking toward the camera—the ending is clearly set up for a sequel and the supposed good guys seem to take a bit too much pleasure in killing.

On the upside, however, the cast seems to be having a good time alternately delivering tough guy lines—“You’re going to die very badly”—and typical action movie one liners—“Everybody except for PETA wants her dead” with loads of enthusiasm.

Actor wise as Clay Jeffrey Dean Morgan picks up where his character in “Watchmen” left off, and Zoe Saldana adds to her action movie reputation in a highly physical role that proves that Hit Girl isn’t the most lethal female in the theatres this week. Idris Elba provides the closest thing to a fully rounded character, mostly because he isn’t saddled with the one-liners the other guys have to spout.

“The Losers” is an action packed comic book romp that would make a better Saturday afternoon matinee than date night movie.